This Week in Science Policy and Advocacy
Policy and Advocacy News
Final 2018 Budget Deal Should Help the National Science Foundation in 2019, Too
March 23, 2018 | Science
In the 2018 budget, NSF received a $295 million increase, a modest gain compared to NIH but noteworthy after two years of stagnant funding. Congress concentrated the funding increase in research and related activities with NSF ultimately deciding which areas of research will receive more funding. The “Big Ideas” of cross-disciplinary research that NSF first identified in 2016 are likely to be bolstered with minimal disruption to ongoing core programs.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about science policy issues at SfN.org
Congress Orders USDA to Restore Transparency, Completeness, to Animal Welfare Reports
March 22, 2018 | Science
Congress released a report alongside the omnibus that accuses the USDA of not making documentation accessible regarding their enforcement of animal welfare laws. The report orders the USDA to improve its user database so that outsiders can more easily access animal research inspection reports without submitting federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
- Find animals in research resources at SfN.org
India Taps Biologist as New Science Advisor
March 28, 2018 | Science
Krishnaswamy VihayRaghaven, a molecular biologist and head of India’s Department of Biotechnology, has been selected by Prime Minister Modi to serve as the science advisor. VijayRaghaven has hinted that his priorities include improving access to scientific training and addressing climate change, both of which will be built on fundamental research.
- Engage in Global Advocacy Programs at SfN.org
What Does it Mean When We Call Addiction a Brain Disorder?
March 23, 2018 | Scientific American
In this editorial, NIDA Director Nora Volkow discusses the classification of addiction as a brain disorder and the science behind it. Volkow addresses critiques of the brain disorder model, but states that addressing addiction as a treatable medical problem is crucial for ensuring a proper public-health-focused response.
- Watch a Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus briefing about addiction at BrainFacts.org
A 3-D Spinal Cord Atlas Will Improve Treatment of Difficult Injuries
March 23, 2018 | STAT
This op-ed discusses a new research program generating a high resolution 3D map of the spinal cord for improving individualization of spinal cord care. The initiative is spearheaded by the Seattle Science Foundation with affiliates including former NFL player Ricardo Lockette who suffered a career ending spinal cord injury.
- Read about rehabilitating spinal cord injuries at BrainFacts.org
Articles of Interest
How Much Can a Mouse Truly Reveal about Autism
March 23, 2018 | The Atlantic
Inconsistent results have plagued autism mouse models and assessments of their behavior, limiting the application of this line of research to human cases of autism. Improving the utility of autism mouse models will require focusing better behavioral tests that capture behavioral nuances in autism and publishing negative as well as positive findings.
- Learn more about the role of animal models in studying neuropsychiatric diseases at Neuronline.org
For Many Strokes, There's an Effective Treatment. Why Aren't Some Doctors Offering it?
March 26, 2018 | The New York Times
Over twenty years ago, tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), a clot busting drug, was found effective in preventing stroke damage following a major artery blockage. However, many physicians, have not adopted TPA because it needs to be administered within a few hours of stroke and can cause brain bleeding. Stroke patients are often permanently disabled without treatment, but emergency room doctors rarely deal with the long-term consequences of their decisions not to administer TPA.
- Understand the progression after stroke by reading BrainFacts.org
Pioneering Alzheimer's Study in Colombia Zeroes in on Enigmatic Protein
March 27, 2018 | Nature
A family in the rural Columbian region of Antioquia, identified as an example of inherited early onset Alzheimer’s, has contributed to understanding the buildup of tau and amyloid prior to symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease progression. Researchers are now tracking the accumulation of tau in this population as symptoms emerge in hopes of better understanding the role of tau in Alzheimer’s.
- Learn about hallmarks of Alzheimer’s at BrainFacts.org
Scientists Say They Have Developed A Memory-Restoring Prosthetic For The Human Brain
March 29, 2018 | Forbes
Researchers improved short-term memory by stimulating the brain using activity patterns recorded in learning a different task. The stimulation occurred via electrodes already implanted in epilepsy patients’ brains and serves as a proof of principle of scientists’ ability to boost memories using prosthetic devices.
- Discover the next-generation of prosthetics at BrainFacts.org